Brexit

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The post-Hogmanay atmosphere is always sobering, and never more than this year when the party may be over for some many people in so many ways. During 2017, three great political experiments - Brexit, the Trump Presidency and the Catalonian independence project - failed to progress beyond the damage limitation stage into the payoffs their proponents expected. In Scotland, the snap UK election was a piece of bad luck for the SNP and accelerated the comeback of Scottish Conservatives and Labour.
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The first stage deal reached between the UK and the EU27 is an important staging post, says Kirsty Huges, but any suggestions that this opens the path to an easy future relationship are wide of the mark. 
 
The UK-EU27 deal on EU citizens’ rights, the divorce bill and Northern Ireland’s border will unlock the second stage of Brexit talks at next week’s European Council summit in Brussels.  The summit is expected to issue guidelines on a transition period while the crucial trade guidelines will come later perhaps in February or March.
 
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The current compromise on the border issue between Northern Ireland and the Republic relies on a subsequent technocratic fix, which, says Michael Keating,  provides ample material for arguments in the course of the next round of negotiations. 
 
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Richard Parry reflects on the first-stage agreement between the UK and EU that defuses political of tension but has little comfort for the proponents of Brexit and leaves all to play for in the territorial politics of Britain and Ireland. 
 
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The fundamental issue with Clause 11 of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which allows the UK parliament and government to retain competence in areas of devolved responsibility, is one of trust, says Nicola McEwen. 
 
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The interplay between Brexit and devolution is a complex one and, as yet, says Michael Keating, there is little to suggest that the questions it raises have been answered. 
 
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The House of Commons is currently considering the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, and the Scottish Affairs Committee has just published a Report looking at the implications of this Bill for Scotland’s devolution settlement. Committee Chair Pete Wishart outlines the Committee’s work on this subject and sets out the Report’s main conclusions and recommendations.
 

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

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